Monday, July 20, 2015

My Creative Spaces and some Favorite Things

Thank you for joining us on the Island Batik Ambassador Blog Hop as we reveal our creative spaces and tell you about some of our favorite things.

Be sure to check them all out!

07/13 - Linda Pearl of The Patchwork Pearl
07/14 – Barbara Gaddy of Bejeweled Quilts by Barb
07/15 – Maryellen McAuliffe of Mary Mack’s Blog
07/16 – Christine Martinez of Made In Scraps
07/17 – Maria Hrabovsky of Maria’s Quilt Scraps and Quilts For Sale 
07/18 – Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis
07/19 – Joan Kawano of Moosestash Quilting
07/20Marlene Oddie of Kissed Quilts
07/21 – Nan Baker  of Purrfect Spots Blog
07/22 – Adele Mogavero of
07/23 – Pam Geisel of For Quilts Sake
07/24 – Bea Lee of Beaquilter
07/25 – Connie Campbell of Freemotion by the River 
07/26 – Pam Boatright of Pamela Quilts
07/27 –  Connie Kauffmann of Kauffmann Designs
07/28 – Patti Bochey of Lemon Tree Snippets
07/29 – Carol Steely of Funthread Designs, LLC

I feel blessed to have two primary spaces that I use to be creative. One is at home and the other is in my studio in the center of Grand Coulee, WA--literally at the corner of the Hwy and Main Street --Location, Location, Location!

So, I'll start off by showing you my home 'Research and Development' space (smiley, HA!) and then my studio space in town.

Probably my favorite thing about my home space is the view! The back of our home looks out over Lake Roosevelt which is the body of water that backs up behind Grand Coulee Dam. It is a 5 cubic mile lake and runs 150 miles behind the dam up to the Canadian border. Right now it is just about at capacity.

We moved here just over two years ago now when my husband took a job at the dam as a Mechanical Engineer. It took about 6 months for us to make the move after he started working and my studio space in town was setup before we moved the household stuff. Since the town studio is where I go to 'work' (or 'play') every day, my home studio has suffered and did not get a proper move-in and setup. It hasn't quite gotten into a truly happy space, but I can get things done and find my projects as I need to.

Here is the view from the door. The bright upper left light is the window so I wanted to be sure to just show you the view above.

I have an adjustable height table from Costco that makes for a great cutting table in this space. I usually have a larger mat there, but it has also been in my classroom space recently, so it isn't here at the house. I also have a reversible cutting mat/ironing pad that I use for small ironing jobs here in the room. In my laundry room downstairs is a larger ironing space if I need it.

My old Pfaff Hobbymatic 917 from way back ...made in West Germany....keeps chugging along when I need to work at home. It did not get sufficient use to keep itself lubricated in the sealed system, so in this dry climate of Eastern Washington, I have had to have it worked on and get it lubed up a couple of times. I keep trying to start a project that I only work on at my house (vs. in my studio) just to keep it going. It is sitting on a school computer table that I salvaged from the closure of a local school building after they moved into a new facility. It is designed so that there aren't legs in the front of it, so it makes it easier to put a chair up to it.

There is a whiteboard propped against the window that I hope to hang to the right of the window so I can draw ideas, keep some visible project lists or be able to note items that I need so that I don't forget them. I've got lots of counted cross-stitch and embroidery work that are of 'Love' stamps through the years propped in the window --at some point I hope to hang them above the window. I was a stamp collector as a child and have taken a special interest in heart or love themed stamps as an adult.

The right wall has 4 sets of 3 plastic drawer units. Each drawer has its own color and it starts at the left with white, cream, burgundy/pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, grey, and black. These are scraps or fabrics not destined for any particular idea/theme/project. When I often only had time to make the Block of the Month at the guild meeting for our Block Lotto, I could easily pull from these and enjoyed the visibility and access to finding just what I wanted.

This is the wall immediately to the right of the door as you enter the room. Two old re-buildable cabinets that my dad first assembled in the 70's and I've reassembled several times from various college housing scenarios where it has been my 'open air dresser', a desk, a book shelf or a media cabinet. When we moved for a short period of time it was even my dish shelving. its been through it, I've even convinced a university technology department to reverse engineer the wooden screws that go between the shelving and hold the pedestals together and make some more out of plastic. That helped me put it into a closet and make it work for more storage. Alas now it is holding my various project designated/idea themed fabrics. General themes are: Hearts, flowers (maybe a garden quilt where every block is a different flower --ok I could make a lot of quilts at this point! I need to come up with a great design and could then sell the kits where each block is unique), Jinny Beyer, burgundy and blue for a heart bargello, Snoopy, Seashore/lighthouses, camping/woodlands, tulips, Japanese prints, ombres, Fuscias from Jackie Robinson, Red/Black/White/Grey--but just made one quilt from these --Our Honeymoon Quilt--so not sure if I'm done with this idea or if I want to make something more; blocks I've won; USC (my alma mater);
postcard making materials; matching heart fabrics in two color sets to ultimately make a kite quilt; and of course ...batiks...and specifically now--Island Batik fabrics. I'm loving them and so excited to be an Island Batik Ambassador for the first time this year. Looking forward to sharing with you next month some fun ideas with the Spring and Summer collections as part of our Summer in the Country Blog Hop and in the months to come with future ideas already in the works.

There is a closet in this room and my dear husband put in all of this wire shelving last year sometime, so I'm slowly getting stuff moved into it and organized. Way too much scrap batting leftover from my long-arm projects.

I've got a couple of large tubs in the bottom that have other collections of fabrics including: berries; firemen; travel; patriotic; insects--including dragonflies and lady bugs. Other shelves include things like my Alaska 2007 Shop Hop blocks in progress and fabrics to use for backing or as needed; tawna lawn cotton that I originally purchased for my grandmother when I used to travel to London often in my former profession--I got it back when she downsized and has since passed away.

So...that is a general idea of my home space. Not really a very big space, and mostly a storage area, but when at home I can go in there and let my mind do all sorts of imagining of what things will be when they are done.

The part that is truly a public space is my studio. In 2009 I decided to take up long-arming as a business. I named it KISSed Quilts--Keeping it Simple and Stunning. I had taken a long-arm class in 2005 and my instructor, Suzanne Young, encouraged me to get my own machine. She recognized a natural talent in me and was a great cheerleader. Many things had to come together and it finally did in 2009. Rather than just getting a long-arm machine for me, I got one to pursue it as a business. In early 2013 I moved out of my home in College Place, WA (next to Walla Walla) to this studio space.


After deciding that the floor was too uneven to level the long-arm, we started removing the floors. We discovered evidence of nine different floors and ultimately rotting joists. After many hours of hard work by my dear husband after his regular work hours...this beautiful bamboo floor was ready for me to move in. I had to finish "Rosie's BOMb" in order to move the table, so it got done just in time to be disassembled and moved. Later in 2013 this quilt won a 2nd place in the Bed Quilts, Machine Quilted category at AQS Des Moines Quilt Week.

3 months later -- Long-arm Setup:


Now: Yes, it is right downtown Grand Coulee. This is the view looking east.

Flowers are beginning to grow in our landscaping efforts.

This is inside the studio/shop. I use my traveling 'Brother XR-7700' if I need to piece while in the studio or in my classes, but it is tucked away in these photos. I have built up the inventory to about 200 bolts of fabric now with a good palette of colors to help finish off any project.  Given my limited space--I have chosen to carry some locally themed fabrics (fish and native prints); fabrics that coordinate with the Rosie the Riveter poster fabric that I have had made; some of the Peppered Cottons and the entire Northcott Toscana palette. There are a few other bits and bobs of quality quilting fabric and I offer them at a great deal. Many are $8 or less a yard and I believe they compliment what I have in the shop to provide a few extra options. I also have about 10 wide backs that customers can choose from. It is also my long-arm space, so that takes up the majority of the space.

My fabric offerings started with what is in the cubbies --leftovers from the stash I compiled while living in a university town whose colors were green and orange. Not exactly a palette one works with every day. They also had a lot of wineries. Where I am now....not so much. So, they are all available at $8/yard and are organized by theme and color for easy selecting.

I'm excited about getting the new Island Batik fabrics in and sharing their beauty in color, motif and how well they handle with my customers. I've got two new patterns with Island Batik that will be coming out at Fall market, too!

After the "Rosie's BOMb" win, Leila Gardunia, who inspired my creation through her Skill Builder Sampler Quilt Along, and I proposed to AQS to create the concept into a book. The new book is now available, published by the American Quilter's Society (AQS) and co-authored by Leila and myself.

...and Row by Row Experience (tm) is happening! Here is my design, called "Grand Coulee Dam Laser Light Show". Sold out last week of my kits, but expect to have new kits available by the end of this week. Even a glimpse of my first Island Batik project -"Woven Braid" in the lower left corner. It is now available as a pattern from me or through the Island Batik Reps as shop owners order those new fabrics that will be available in August! I plan to have kits + pattern for sale.

I did briefly mention my 'classroom' space is a 3rd space that during the Fall/Winter/Spring months I am generally there on Tuesdays. It is in the Art Room at the local Senior Center. So grateful for their generous sharing of this space to help local people learn. This is just at the far end of the room. We also have a huge boardroom type table that easily allows 6, sometimes 8 people to sew at it. There is lots of great natural light from south facing windows that we carefully adjust vertical blinds to keep the heat out and the light coming in and many overhead lights. Hanging on the back wall is my pattern "Mi Amore"; on the back table is a new pattern 1892 Rondure --it is not yet published as a pattern, but stay tuned!--it looks 3D when you can see the whole thing; on the front table are quilts that my students and I put together and sent to a cancer treatment center on what would have been the 25th birthday of a daughter (known to a friend of mine). Each of us had our own reasons for contributing to this cause felt good.

I failed to mention another 'space' that I use --to hang my quilts and photograph them. This is one of my favorite spots for capturing the quilting design in a photograph--the west side of our home. When the sun is at the right spot in the afternoon, I get wonderful shadowing to really show off the quilting. This shot to the right is a bit overshadowed due to the breeze, but you get the idea and it is a great spot for photoshoots. This is the piecer (left), myself the quilter (right) and the recipient (center). A friendship gift with a hint of anniversary celebration stitched into the quilting. This was a fun collaboration with the piecer. It looked stunning in the themed bedroom.

Thanks for stopping by and getting a bit of an insight to my creative space. I'm giving away my newest pattern--"Road Trip"--to a lucky commenter. This is a finishing pattern. First you pick up a free row pattern from 8 Row by Row Experience(TM) participating shops and a fabric license plate or make your own label to identify what shop each row is from; then use the pattern to make the roadway blocks and add the borders. I sold out of the finishing kits very early, but hope to have more sometime in August. Be sure I can email you if you'd like to win the pattern!

Here was the winning quilt at my shop that closely resembles this pattern (it was the test--HA!).

I'll choose a random comment at the end of the Blog Hop --plus a couple of days--Friday, July 31 at 5pm, Pacific Time.

So, what might you do with this color palette? Come back in August to see what was created!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Island Batik Ambassador Creative Spaces

I've been away to be a part of my sister's wedding. So happy for her! Here we are before the ceremony.

Here she is....a married woman!

Ok...the real reason I'm here today...there is a blog hop going on where you can see the Island Batik Ambassador Creative Spaces. Including my own space...which some of it is not yet cleaned up as I write this, so I hope it will be by my own post on July 20 ...otherwise you'll see what I normally see. HA!!

It got started two days ago, so check it out at

See you soon!